The Savvy Traveler :: Shaun

[trip style = active & adventure + urban + budget conscious]

Editor's Note: We're excited to feature Shaun, a rockin' packing evangelist---with a book to boot---for this month's installment of The Savvy Traveler. Don't miss next Monday's follow-up piece with a sneak-peek at his packing method and must-haves...before his book comes out!

Shaun is a Canadian rock star {aka bassist for Tegan and Sara} who is as passionate about packing as he is about music. And who better to trust about maximizing suitcase space than someone who is constantly packing and re-packing? Jetting from city to city for the past 10 years with only a carry-on suitcase to call home, Shaun picked up a few packing tricks of the trade and decided to write a book about it {more details below} with tons of how-to pictures, packing tidbits and interviews with other musicians {think Vampire Weekend, Death Cab for Cutie, Cold War Kids, etc.}. Here's why Shaun is our first Savvy Traveler of 2012!

1/ What are your top three trip styles and why?
If I had to narrow it down to only three favorite trip styles, it would be Active & Adventure, Urban and Budget Conscious. Here's why...

[trip style = active & adventure] Simply put, I have difficulty standing still. It could be the fact that I grew up on the rugged West Coast. I love exploring, and exploring to me is a physical and mental state. I like the idea of really taking in a new environment by being active, so whether this is in the form of a ski trip or a jaunt down the Oregon coast for a quick surf, I have to keep moving!

[trip style = urban] After exploring and spending time in nature, I like to switch it up with the busyness of a bustling city. When I grew up I wanted to be an architect. That passion is still there in the form of design, but despite it losing out to a stronger passion in music, I still love tall buildings and beautifully designed museums. I could walk for hours in a large city with no idea or concern of where I'm heading. For a variety of reasons stemming from architecture to overall feel, my favorite city walkabouts would be: Copenhagen, Denmark; Melbourne, Australia; and of course you can never go wrong with New York, NY.

[trip style = budget conscious] I appreciate the challenge of a budget-conscious trip. As the majority of my traveling has come through my profession as a musician, I'm used to constantly being made aware of the cost of travel. After all, for the bands that I'm in or even just performing with, the only reason we're traveling from city to city or country to country is in hopes of making enough money to do it again the next year while still trying to make a living. We have to save money here so we can invest there, and touring for us is no different. How can we set up a gig in Tokyo to not only write off our trip, but also come back with a little money in our pockets, PLUS a lifetime of new stories and experiences?!  PS - I'm still trying to figure out this one :)

2/ You've written a book about packing; what compelled you to write it?
Originally I starting writing the book, How to Pack Like A Rock Star, as a fun project to do while on the road. I started by jotting down a few little packing tricks here and there while perfecting my own packing method. Then I started printing off copies for my band mates as a fun Christmas present, but then my mind started to wander! What if I added a ton of fun photos? What if I asked a few other bands to add their input? What if I challenged anyone who cares about traveling to think about packing in a new way? And then it really started changing and evolving into a much bigger, more rewarding project!

In short, the final product ended up far better than I ever could have imagined. It really is the best "nerdy-cool, how-to book" on packing your suitcase---probably because it's the only one, but still! And besides it isn't just about packing; it's "an insider's look at the how to pack for tour or vacation, complete with helpful hints, comments and advice from some of the world's top touring artists." So in other words, even if you don't care to learn a new way to pack, it's chock-full of fun stories {including some disastrous ones!} about being on the road.

3/ Carry-on or checked bag?
Carry-on. I wouldn't have written this book if it weren't for being forced to use a carry-on for many years of my young touring life! It's about being efficient and the carry-on forces you to be just that!

4/ Last trip, next trip and what destinations are on your radar and why?
Aside from a few trips across Canada with my own band Rococode in the last couple of months, my last real trip was New Zealand and Australia. It was my first time in New Zealand, and now I just need to get back there before it's too late to sign up for "Middle Earth, Lord of the Rings Tours"!

I'm heading off on tour again through Canada, but I'm sure I'll also be adding a trip style = weekend getaway {or two} down to Cannon Beach, OR---one of my favorite places to just get away and relax. And when I say relax, I obviously mean surf, play tennis, etc.

Japan is still the ultimate destination on my radar right now. From what I've heard, it's like no other country and you feel lost the moment you get off the plane. I've heard this about the United Emirates too.

5/ Where and when can we buy the book?
The easiest way to get a copy of my book right now is to say hi and e-mail me at Shortly you'll be able to order it from my website, as well as buy it in a variety of stores, from airport gift shops to regular book stores!

More Savvy Travelers
Christina, Taking Care of Biz
Charles, The Global Travel Influencer
Rachel, The Suitcase Siren

{If you know anyone who should be featured in our once-monthly Savvy Traveler series, drop us a line!}

[photo via Shaun]